Clashes in Alexandria as Constitutional Referendum Continues

Confrontations today between Islamists and others left 42 injured in Alexandria on the day before the final round of voting on the highly controversial draft constitution. In attempts to disperse protesters, riot police armed with truncheons and teargas were deployed. Reportedly, Islamist supporters of the draft constitution called for a rally to follow Friday prayers today in response to an altercation last week involving Sheik Ahmed el-Mahalawi and a controversial sermon.

In his sermon, Sheik el-Mahalawi “accused the media of spreading lies and claimed that last week’s clashes were meant to prevent voting in the referendum.” He also referred to opponents of the draft constitution as “followers of heretics.” The sheik’s sermon resulted in a confrontation between his supporters and opponents involving the use of “swords and firebombs.”